Thu
Jan 14 2010 3:08pm

Neglected Books and Authors

James Nicoll asked an interesting question on his livejournal yesterday—he wanted people to name talented but unjustly obscure authors. He’s had some wonderful answers, and I wanted, with James’s permission, to ask the same question here.

It’s easy to moan about bestsellers you don’t like, but who are the authors that should be getting the sales and the attention and yet remain obscure?

I have a few, which will probably be no surprise to long term readers: Walter Jon Williams, Karl Schroeder and Susan Palwick. They’re all three terrific serious writers who I always think should get attention and award nominations. More than that, I expect people to be reading and talking about their books, and it never seems to happen enough.

Then there are other writers who have recognition and nominations without commercial success. John M. Ford would be a perfect example. There are others who keep on selling but never seem to attract attention or have a big breakout—Lawrence Watt Evans is like this and so is Barbara Hambly. They’ve both written lots of excellent fantasy, without becoming superstars. Then there are the people who write one brilliant book and nothing else like Raphael Carter or Hope Mirrlees.

Who would you add to this list?


Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published eight novels, most recently Half a Crown and Lifelode, and two poetry collections. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here regularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.

152 comments
JS Bangs
1. jaspax
Ricardo Pinto, whose Stone Dance of the Chameleon is the best fantasy series that no one besides me seems to have read.
Jason 1110
2. Jason 1110
M.A. Foster, about whom you have already written. Would you consider writing about his Transformer trilogy someday?

Second on Walter Jon Williams and Karl Schroeder.
james loyd
3. gaijin
Dr. Travis S. Taylor.

Doc Travis is (literally) a rocket scientist and science fiction author who has published five of his own novels and as many collaborations with author John Ringo.

When a friend recommended I read Taylor's first novel, Warp Speed, he said it contained enough ideas for several books. That's no exaggeration. The minute a new technology or concept is introduced, a dozen (good, practical) applications are considered, revised, and often implemented within a few pages. The book should come with a seat belt. The biggest flaw in his developing writing style was that so many great ideas were brought up and left undeveloped by the wayside in favor of better ideas.

One reason for the quick development is that the main character is a brilliant, athletic, multi-disciplined astronaut. Lest you think this character is what makes it sci-fi, let me point out that he's not much different from Travis himself, who holds several advanced degrees, works on Dept. of Defense contracts, is a "Black Belt martial artist, a private pilot, a SCUBA diver, races mountain and road bikes, competed in triathlons, and has been the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of several hard rock bands." Yes, he IS Buckaroo Banzai.

Please read his books. There are so few things of which Alabama can be proud. This is one.

Oh, and for what it's worth, I couldn't agree more about Lawrence Watt-Evans.
Jason 1110
4. Rob Barrett
Tony Daniel. Metaplanetary and Superluminal are two of my favorite SF novels of the last decade. And then the publisher declined the third book because the sales weren't there. AUGH!
Marcus W
5. toryx
Daniel Abraham. I'm grateful that you've brought him up so often but the word definitely isn't out there enough. He deserves a lot more attention (and purchases) than he's gotten. It's a tragedy that his books can be so hard to find.
Caroline Kierstead
6. ctkierst
Oh, I'd have to add P. C. Hodgell, Lois McMaster Bujold and Lorna Freeman.
Torie Atkinson
7. Torie
Ellen Klages. Her YA The Green Glass Sea blew me away. She writes young people (especially young women) as human beings, rather than stupid versions of adults, and her short stories are vivid and powerful.
Pritesh Patil
8. MatHornsounder
Broken sky by Chris wooding...........i still have'nt gotten his final book of the series!!

:-(
Jason 1110
9. Bluejay
I'd like to see Catherynne M. Valente be more widely read and discussed than she seems to be. I loved her series The Orphan's Tales (In the Night Garden and In the Cities of Coin and Spice).
Jason 1110
10. wolfblass
- Desolation Road, by Ian McDonald
- Neverness, by David Zindell
Frank Nagy
12. fjnagy
Three authors I want to mention are from the long past but I continue to enjoy their works: H Beam Piper, E Frank Fussel and Murray Leinster.
Alt wrote during the (John W Campbell/Astounding/Analog) Golden Era of Science Fiction and are responsible for some of the iconic works of SF. Leinster wrote the prototypical first contact story called, appropriately enought, "First Contact" for instance.
Estara Swanberg
13. Estara
Seconding P.C. Hodgell and her Kencyrath series (finally has a major publisher in BAEN AND a new book out in March *flail* - with the typically horrid BAEN cover *sigh*), wanting to add Martha Wells (probably best known for Death of the Necromancer?), Sherwood Smith(best known for Crown Duel - maybe she's getting more varied exposure with her Inda series for DAW now...), Elizabeth Wein (Arthurian Aethiopian alternate history - The Winter Prince and onward).

And those are just off the top of my head, because I'm fanatic about them.
Jason 1110
14. Jason 1110
@10 Yes! Neverness by David Zindell, of course.
Matthew Hunter
15. matthew1215
I will second Daniel Keys Moran. It's a literary tragedy that his books have not been more widely published. I have been waiting for AI War (unpublished sequel to previous works) for at least 8 years.
Elio García
16. Egarcia
@jaspax,

I read Pinto. Really liked the first, such a strange and imaginative setting, terrific atmosphere. I'm afraid I was so-so on the second, and I see now that the third was published, at least according to Wikipedia, this year. I fear the 8 year wait, in part because of the house fire that set him back so far, is a large part of why people have not read it.

@toryx,

Daniel has a devoted following at the Song of Ice and Fire forum's literature section. Plugging A Price for Spring for the Hugo. He deserves it.

The author I wish had more attention is Judith Tarr. The Hound and the Falcon and Avaryan Rising are terrific fantasy series, and Lord of the Two Lands was a WFA nominee as I recall. I'm not the biggest fan of the turn to a more romantic fantasy that she's taken over the years, but it seems to me that that was more market-driven than by choice, because the waning fortunes that so many mid-listers have been facing.

I'd love for someone to throw a contract to her to write a new entry in either of those series, or to write an excellent historical novel like Queen of Swords.

Besides her, I would not mind more attention for Sarah Monette. And I'll ditto Sarah Micklem, mentioned in Kate Nepveu's thread. I had not realized the second book is out. Will be ordering it shortly. The first was quite beautifully written, I thought.
Jo Walton
17. bluejo
Jason 1110: Foster's brilliant Morphodite books are certainly on my (very vague) list of things I re-read from time to time, so yes, if I keep doing this then sooner or later I'll be talking about them here.
Jason 1110
18. LouWW
Adam Roberts--he is just becoming available in the US, but has been writing for years--Stone should be published here stat!

James Lovegrove--Provinder Gleed

Thorne Smith--time for reissues!
Jason 1110
20. Rob Slater
Peter Watts, because there's enough happy SF out there.

Jeffrey Ford, which is probably asking a bit much.

Sean Stewart, because his novels are better than his ARGs, which is saying something.
Dru O'Higgins
22. bellman
There is a space opera trilogy I've loved since I was a kid - Requiem for a Ruler of Worlds, Jinx on a Terran Inheritance and Fall of the White Ship Avatar by Brian Daley.

Randall Garrett. Whenever people are mentioning authors from the classic Astounding era, they never seem to mention him. His short stories are good, the Lord Darcy books are brilliant and I really liked the Gandalara cycle.

Lawrence Watt-Evans. I know Jo already mentioned him, but it's rare for me to like fantasy, and I had a lot of trouble getting the latest Ethshar book, The Vondish Ambassador.
Jason 1110
23. dswaldo
Rosemary Kirstein's Steerswoman series is excellent scifi/fantasy -- so far. Only problem is the wait between books! My non-paid endorsement is "Buy her older books so she writes more soon!"
Marcus W
24. toryx
Egarcia @ 16:

I'm glad to hear that. I haven't visited the aSoIaF forums for years (though that's where my handle was first used almost a decade ago). I'm glad that they've still got good taste. :)

I just thought of another author: Phil Rickman. He isn't exactly a fantasy or sci fi writer but more of a lightly tinged supernatural mystery writer from Great Britain. For all I know he's plenty popular over there and only just starting to be known over here but I loved, devoured and own all of his Merrily Watkins books.
Jason 1110
25. Bob Garcia
Contemporary fantasy fans should take a look at Michael Gruber's TROPIC OF NIGHT.
Jason 1110
26. Rob Slater
M. John Harrison's recent books seem to have had more of a presence here in the States, but I'd say he's probably still unjustly obscure. His short stories are incredible, and Things That Never Happen is sadly out of print.
David Platt
27. The Not So Dark One
Funny thing reading this blog is apparently my wife did the same exercise of looking for underrated books for me for Christmas and came up with two.

I had never head of either but have now read both and found them unique and very enjoyable.

The first was "A Night in the Lonesome October" by Roger Zelazny. The book doesn't travel new ground and at times almost reads like a schoolboy effort of a mish mash of famous characters - but somehow comes together in a book that was very entertaining.

The second was "Transformation" by Carol Berg.
The book has much of the same settings as a lot of books - demons, warrior races etc. but manages to focus on a good character relationship - with a bit of intrigue and a likable main character/ narrator.

I plan on buying the rest of the series.

Both Good.

For those wishing to step just outside the SF/ Fantasy genre Im just finishing "the Girl Who Played With Fire" which was a sequel to "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", both of which are decent enough reads.
Wen Wen Yang
28. muteddragon
Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels Series) & Sharon Shinn (Twelve Houses Series). Only ones I could think up at the moment, I know there are more!
Jason 1110
29. jmidd
Henry Kuttner wrote some great stuff back in the 40's that is widely forgotten today. Same with Leigh Brackett, although her last works were written in the mid-70's.

Of current authors, Michael A Stackpole has written some fantastic stuff in The Dark Glory War and the subsequent Dragoncrown cycle, and his Cartographers trilogy was a masterpiece of worldbuilding, with lots of hints of unseen issues and conflicts that provide verisimilitude to a novel.
Jason 1110
30. Harry Connolly
Victoria Strauss. Her duology, The Burning Land and The Awakened City deserved more attention than they received.
Joris Meijer
31. jtmeijer
Edward Whittemore, not quite fantasy but fantastical and fantastic.
Michael Walsh
32. MichaelWalsh
Jerry Yulsman wrote one genre book: Elleander Morning. Time travel / alt history.

I have fond memories reading it in the late 80s.

Oh looky: it was a Tor book too.
Lawrence Schimel
33. LawrenceSchimel
Nancy Springer is like John M. Ford. She's won the Tiptree and the Edgar (for mystery). She's been a finalist for the Hugo, the Nebula, the World Fantasy, the Mythopoeic, etc. And yet she is one of the least-read widely-published writers. This is so much the case in SF that she's all but given it up in favor of YA.
Jason 1110
34. Leigh56
Some of my favorite authors have already been mentioned. Here are 2 more-both excellent writers.

Emma Bull- "War For the Oaks" and "Finder", also any of her Bordertown/Borderlands stories.

Pat Murphy- "The Falling Woman" and also her short story collection, which I-sadly-don't have and can't remember the title of.
Jason 1110
35. Elaine Thom
Hope Mirrlees did write more than one book. But I could only wade through Lud In the Mist. I eventually passed on the other book of hers that I picked up - it was a contemporary (at the time of writing) novel - to someone on Usenet.

My nominee for neglected writer: Sanders Ann Laubenthal, whose Excalibur was published in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, and which I just reread, and was blown away by. It is an Arthurian fantasy set in Mobile, Alabama. (she used the Madoc legend.) I couldn't get over how much she got into one volume, and how well she carried it all off. I'd remembered it as being too obviously derivative of JRRT & Williams, but umpty-years later it seemed far less so.
Jason 1110
36. drunes
I second Harry Connolly's suggestions. Victoria Strauss's "The Buring Land" is one of the most original and beautiful fantasy novels written. Strong characters, suspenseful plot, and an amazingly well-developed new world...
Jason 1110
37. pilgrimsoul
@ Estara #13

Ditto on Sherwood Smith--marvelous world building and compelling characters in the Inda series
Rikka Cordin
38. Rikka
This is my favorite thread ever. Hello reading list for the next six months! :D
Todd Johansen
39. Gher06
Robert Charles Wilson is fantastic. I don't know that he's obscure, but he's not read by many people. In my experience, everyone who does read him likes his books.



That's all I got. I don't read many other little-known authors.
Jason 1110
40. frozenmoose55
I recently read "The Book of Elementals: Volume 1 and 2" by Phyllis Eisenstein, and I have to say it was amazing!!
Jason 1110
41. Cameo Wood
I love Sandra Kasturi's "The Animal Bridegroom" - awesome dark and urban fantasy poems - and it's shocking it isn't more well known when it even features an introduction by Neil Gaiman. My favourite poems by her are on her website, and feature familiar characters like Hansel and Gretal, Little Red Riding hood, and some terrifying warrior goddesses.

http://sandrakasturi.com/
Ron Hogan
42. RonHogan
I'd love to see more attention for Jack O'Connell and Norman Partridge, absolutely.
Jason 1110
43. Jessica Strider
My vote goes to Carol Berg. She has several fantasy series out and yet few people have heard of her.
Jason 1110
44. lampwick
Lisa Goldstein, especially Dark Cities Underground.
Tamara Allen
45. tamaralynn
The one book I've been able to read several times and get something new out of each time is one I read in high school and loved: From the Legend of Biel by Mary Staton. Amazon reviews give you some idea of why it is so amazing and unforgettable.
Jason 1110
46. Rob T.
Lucius Shepard and Howard Waldrop. Both have won and/or been nominated for many sf/fantasy-related awards, but both are far better known for their short fiction than their novels (Waldrop has written one and a half, Shepard's are few and far between) and most of their books have come from small presses.

Shepard is noted for his unmistakable style, while Waldrop has the uncanny ability to match his writing style to his wild ideas. Both would appeal to sympathetic out-of-genre readers, and both should have higher profiles in the genre.
Jason 1110
47. Amgorab
John Crowley, who wrote the absolutely breathtaking, original, and epic "Little, Big." I read it and was astounded that I had never heard of the book or of Crowley before. And though I am unfamiliar with his other work, I would argue that "Little, Big" is a treasure of considerable value both to genre fiction and the larger literary canon.
Alison Sinclair
48. alixsin
Sarah Ash and Marie Jakober. . Sarah Ash has written 8 novels now, including the "Tears of Artamon" trilogy and a duology that wraps around it featuring two minor characters. She writes a European-flavored fantasy, as distinct from Celtic, with an eighteenth/nineteenth century feel and kingdoms great and small jostling elbow to elbow with each other. Within the genre Marie Jakober has written The Black Chalice, set in medieval Germany, about the clash between the pagan and Christian worlds, a book I prefer to Zimmer Bradley's more famous The Mists of Avalon, and Even the Stones; outside the genre she is known for her novels about espionage in the American Civil War.
Joe Sherry
49. jsherry
I'll third Daniel Keys Moran. I really fell for his novel The Long Run.

The AI War *may* have been published on his blog in chunks, but I'm not positive about that. I'd love to see it in print, though.

I'll throw Matthew Stover into the mix. He's not as well known as he should be and is probably best known for his Star Wars work and not his original fiction.

But, the author who I think really should get some extra attention is Charles Saunders, writer of Imaro. That's sword & sorcery as it should be done.
Jason 1110
50. randomname
Sean Stewart, especially Night Watch, Mockingbird. I know Jo wrote about him, but that was the first time I'd seen anyone else even mention having read him.

Emma Bull (if she counts as obscure), especially Finder, Bone Dance, Falcon

Daniel Abraham, who is the best of the writers I've discovered through this blog.
Bob Blough
51. Bob
Susan Palwick definitely!

HALFWAY HUMAN by Carolyn Ives Gilman is the one I think should never be forgotten. It is as insightful and beautifully written as her short fiction (which is LONG overdue to be collected).

I agree with NEVERNESS by David Zindell, but his THE BROKEN GOD from the same series is even better!

Everything by Robert Charles Wilson should be read by everyone.

LIMBO by Bernard Wolfe
MOCKINGBIRD by Walter Tevis
YEAR OF THE QUIET SUN by Wilson Tucker
AT THE EYE OF THE OCEAN by Hilbert Schenck
NATURAL HISTORY by Justina Robson
THE CHILD GARDEN by Geoff Ryman
BRITTLE INNINGS by Michael Bishop
WHITE QUEEN by Gwyneth Jones
SLOW RIVER by Nicola Griffith
SOLITAIRE by Kelley Eskridge
THE CARPET MAKERS by Andreas Eschbach
STRANGERS by Gardner Dozois

and I could go on...but I won't.
Jason 1110
52. EmmaPease
Jane Emerson "City of Diamond" (she also wrote under the name Doris Egan). I fear we will never see the sequels (City of Pearl, City of Opal).
Carl Rigney
53. cdr
fjnagy@12 has excellent taste in classic authors. NESFA Press is doing wonderful work bringing them back into print.

John M. Ford, definitely.

Sean Stewart's meaning of life thrillers, particularly the magic returns trilogy of Resurrection Man, Nightwatch, and Galveston.

James Alan Gardner's League of Peoples story, starting with Expendable.

Eluki Bes Shahar's Hellflower trilogy.

Doris Egan's Gate of Ivory trilogy.

David Palmer's Emergence.

Liz Williams' Detective Inspector Chen novels, but others as well.
Jason 1110
54. afterthefallofnight
Jack McDevitt, Kristine Smith and Barry Hughart.

McDevitt writes "hard" science fiction adventure stories. His stories capture the wonder and adventure of exploration. There is often a mystery that provides the engine for the plot. His characters and his writing style are both rather straightforward. I have read several of his novels and I have enjoyed them all.

Smith's stories have much more emphasis on the messy internal life of her characters, especially her hero, Jani Kilian. I think Kilian is a great character. I wish there were more stories in the series.

Hughart's first novel, "A Bridge of Birds", was a joy to read. I read that he has stopped writing novels. If you have any interest in Fantasy, I recommend the stories about Master Li and Number Ten Ox.
Michal Jakuszewski
55. Lfex
Definitely Neverness by David Zindell. Wonderful book! The sequel trilogy is also very good, even if it basically reads as more of the same.

Also M. A Foster's books, especially The Gameplayers of Zan and the first two Morphodite novels.

Desolation Road as well. Ian McDonald is hardly an obscure writer, but his earlier books seem to unjustly forgotten.

R. Scott Bakker also deserves more recognition for Prince of Nothing series. He is an Internet darling, but in the wider world his sales don't seem to be as high as they should be.

The Floating Worlds by Cecelia Holland. She is well known as historical novelist, but her only SF novel remains little known.

I also want to name Chronicles of King's Tramp Trilogy by Tom de Haven - very original fantasy trilogy which seems to be completely forgotten.
Ben R
56. sphericaltime
I've never understood why Michelle West isn't considered to be up there with GRRM and JRRT. She's better at it than JRRT and her books are wildly more pleasant to read than GRRM.
Jason 1110
57. area53
Anne Billson - Suckers
Lucy Taylor - The Safety of Unknown Cities
Mark Frost - The List of Seven, Six Messiahs
K. W. Jeter
Victor Gischler
brightening glance
58. brightglance
I'll second Martha Wells. She's done what everyone says they want and written a couple of excellent stand-alone fantasies (City of Bones and Wheel of the Infinite, both in non-Eurocentric settings) but they've gone out of print - her series books seem to sell better. (Her first novel, The Element of Fire is available as a free ebook on her website.)
Jason 1110
59. wkwillis
Alexis Gilliland-Wizenbeak
Part sword and sorcery, part agricultural land reform policy.
brightening glance
60. brightglance
Also, about Walter Jon Williams - I read Implied Spaces recently and while I liked it, I wasn't blown away. I suppose it was too much to expect it to be as good as Aristoi.
Jason 1110
61. Mike G.
Fun topic! I agree with Daniel Keys Moran - where's my _AI War_ fix, darn it?!?

Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, although they've been getting lots of publishing love from Baen and others lately, which is good.

Would Elizabeth Moon count? She's well-recognized, but I think she deserves all the success in the world - her books are great.

These replies are going to provide lots of reading material, thanks everyone.
Jason 1110
62. Sonni Viudez
I'm adding my voice in praise of the works of John Crowley and Howard Waldrop. I also believe that while Gene Wolfe's name is consistently -- and reverently -- invoked in serious genre forums, I suspect that his work is not as widely read, let alone understood, by his natural readers.

But the late, great AVRAM DAVIDSON has got to be the best of the unfairly forgotten masters! "The Avram Davidson Treasury", a posthumous collection of his very best short stories, is one of the most ecclectic and moving books I've ever read -- with "The Slovo Stove" and "The Sources of the Nile" being my faves.
Gary Gibson
63. garygibson
Simon Ings for me. He's one, or was one, of the best sf writers out there. Some of his novels, particularly Headlong, were major influences on my own writing. I seem to recall Richard Morgan saying he was a fan of Ing's first novel, Hot Head (the 'hot' being a reference to the hardware inside the protagonist's skull). I'm amazed his books weren't more popular, and in a better world he'd be up there with Morgan, Bill Gibson and the rest. He wrote one surreal fantasy novel, City of the Iron Fish, which still resonates strongly in my mind.

He's still writing to my knowledge, though to my understanding his output over the last ten years has become more sporadic and oriented more towards mainstream and non-fiction.
Paul Weimer
64. PrinceJvstin
Although some people thought it was too much like Zelazny's Amber, I still wonder what happened to Elizabeth Willey, who wrote three novels (The Well Favored Man, A Sorcerer and a Gentleman, The Price of Blood and Honor) and then disappeared, apparently forever.
Fabio Fernandes
65. fabiofernandes
Rhys Hughes. David Marusek. Jack Skillingstead.
Jason 1110
66. OtterB
Ditto Martha Wells. I'm always at a loss to decide whether I like her worldbuilding or her characters best. Probably the characters, since that's what usually takes me back to reread, but it's a tough choice.

Also ditto Michelle West, who also writes at Michelle Sagara.

And I'd also suggest the Raine Benares books by Lisa Shearin. Fairly lightweight fantasy, but I really enjoy the heroine's voice and she (the heroine) hits just the right balance for me of self-confidence and action, humor, engagement with family and friends, and dealing as best she can with predicaments that she doesn't create for herself or sustain due to stupidity or arrogance. And no @#$% vampires.
Jason 1110
67. mrchrstn
I second the M. John Harrison and P.C. Hodgell nominations. I'd second Zelazny, too, since he's one of my favorites, but he's so far from obscure.

Add Tanith Lee to this list, though. Written 100s of books, all of them beautiful.
Jason 1110
68. a-j
A J Alan (and not because of the coincidence of initials) who wrote witty and elegant weird stories for the BBC radio in the '20s and '30s. Can be found in ghost story anthologies though his stories rather defy genre classification. Jerome K Jerome meets The Twilight Zone is the best I can come up with.

Also Kim Newman who seems to well known for his critical writing but whose fiction, particularly the Diogenes Club stories, is very hard to find, at least here in the UK.
Jason 1110
69. Taphien
Jon Courtenay Grimwood - great British author, SF and alternative realities

Janet Kagan - Hellspark and Mirabile are great books
Jason 1110
70. ctkierst
I second the Doris Egan. I also remembered Patricia McKillip (fell in love with her Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy as a teen, though her other stuff is excellent too), Robin McKinley, and Nina Kiriki Hoffman.
Jason 1110
71. Dholton
I always loved Barbara Hambly. Your recent re-reads make me want to go back and re-read myself. But you all have listed so many I haven't read yet...

@22 Bellman

If you loved the Floyt/Fitzhugh books, try his Corisande books (if you can find them) Also his Han Solo books are entertaining.

For my own "list" (of two!), I'll throw in Stephen R Donaldson and Dave Duncan. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant are a classic that not many seem to read these days. Dave Duncan has commercial success, but I always felt his subversive takes on SF and Fantasy were underappreciated.
Jason 1110
72. James Davis Nicoll
I prefer Gilliland's Rosinante series myself but have a quotation from the 3rd Wizenbeak novel:

Right, the wizard thought. We need to approach the little darling with maximum sensitivity to spare her delicate feelings. Only how to begin?

"Well, Marjia darling," he began after the hoped-for inspiration did not arrive, "we have good news and we have bad news. The good news is, you are queen of Guhland. He waited a second to let that sink in. "The bad news is, your mother is dead, your father is dead, your brother is dead, and I am your husband."



My suggestions were Matthew Hughes, who is a bit like a modern Jack Vance (leaving aside the issue of whether Jack Vance himself might not be said to be a form of Jack Vance) and Tom Reamy.

Hughes IIRC had a bit of bad timing at one point (immediately after 9/11 wasn't a good time to publish lightly comic science fantasy novels) but I have no idea why Black Brillion wasn't a best-seller.

http://www.archonate.com/

Reamy died young, with one novel and enough stories for a collection, and he died 30 years ago. He wrote dark fantasy, the sort of thing Bradbury might write if Bradbury wrote the sort of thing I wanted to read.

Has anyone mentioned R.A. Lafferty yet?
Joe Sherry
73. jsherry
@51: Nicola Griffith for sure. I absolutely adore Ammonite
April Vrugtman
74. dwndrgn
Judith Merkle Riley wrote six historical fantasy novels way back when. I sort of stumbled upon one at the library and then gobbled the rest as soon as I could find them. Really interesting and fun stuff.
Kerwin Miller
75. tamyrlink
alixsin @ 48

I really liked the tears of artamon series myself. im surprised it wasnt very big.
i also read The Black Chalice and i loved it. it was very good. but IMO it still doesnt hold a candle to The Mists of Avalon tho.
Jason 1110
76. Jason 1110
Alexei Panshin. Anybody else think that his Anthony Villiers series was the model for Walter Jon Williams' Drake Maijstral series?

Second Martha Wells, although I have not quite figured out yet what I like so much about her work. Thanks for letting us know about the ebook. Also second Gilliland's Rosinante.

From the Golden Age, Katherine MacLean.
Kerwin Miller
77. tamyrlink
Rachel Caines Weather Warden series is a very good blend of magic and sci/fi. its very well written and im surprised more people dont know about her. i think if anyone likes serial novels like The Dresden Files then they would also like the Weather Warden series.
Jason 1110
78. Susan Loyal
Gillian Bradshaw. Much of her recent work is historical fiction, but she began her career in fantasy with Hawk of May, Kingdom of Summer, and In Winter's Shadow, which I still think contain the freshest contemporary take on King Arthur. She writes science fiction from time to time. The Wrong Reflection got US publication, but she's mostly published by Severn House.
Jason 1110
79. Dale S.
A few: Mary Caponegro (The Complexities of Intimacy), Adalbert Stifter (Rock Crystal), Adam Golaski (Worse Than Myself), and Terry Lamsley (Dark Matters).

The Stifter is a short novel, the rest are brilliant collections, all with elements of the fantastic, all with strong language. Why isn't everyone talking about these authors?
Jason 1110
80. Rush-That-Speaks
Geraldine Harris. The only reason I've managed to read anything of hers is that I have one friend who is a devoted fan and a different friend who was with Harris at Cambridge, but her Seven Citadels Quartet is really lovely-- similarities to McKillip and to Judith Tarr but very much its own thing with its own flavor.

Everyone's going to buy P.C. Hodgell's new one and make sure Baen keeps publishing those, right? Please?

Elizabeth Goudge wrote three novels worthy of being on classic-YA-fantasy lists, of which only one ever gets mentioned: The Little White Horse, Valley of Song, Linnets and Valerians. At her best she's George MacDonald and at her worst she's E. Nesbit and there is no bad there. Avoid the adult books, though.

Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters gets one of my Hugo noms this year. I cannot figure out why there has been no buzz on it at all.
Rob Munnelly
81. RobMRobM
I always bang the underappreciated drum for Wilmar Shiras, the great one or two hit wonder from the late 1940s and early 1950s. The novella In Hiding was listed in collections as being one of the best stories/novellas in SF's first 25 years and her novel Children of the Atom has same status for novels.

I still think about In Hiding even today - a seemingly simple tale of an orphaned boy referred to a psychiatrist by his concerned grandparents who want to make sure he's doing ok, and the psychiatrist's growing realization that this well mannered, quiet child is a lot, lot more than he seems. Beautifully written, hauntingly human.

Rob
Marcus W
82. toryx
For those who recommended Michelle West's books:

Is there a particular series that we should start with? Looking at Amazon, there are lots of them but the descriptions sort of imply that they may be connected.

I'm adding a whole list of people to look for to my future reading list. Thanks for the suggestions, all.
Michelle Mulford
83. DervishJ
A couple more YA authors:
Franny Billingsley, who wrote "The Folk Keeper," and Megan Whalen Turner.

Turner's series starts with "The Thief," and is a twisty political story influenced by ancient Greek culture. The fourth book, "A Conspiracy of Kings" is coming out in March.
Holly Bird
84. HollyBird
Janny Wurts; I just read her fine, stand-alone fantasy, "To Ride Hell's Chasm".
Monica Annis-Hilliard
85. beltempest
Mine would be Stephen L. Burns who only seems to have written two books then disappeared. They were Call From a Distant Shore and Flesh and Silver which were great. There's also Elisabeth Vonarburg with books like The Silent City.
Jason 1110
86. efh;aosdc;kjnvjksnv
Martha Wells. I love her books so much and I'm not sure if I'll ever see another. Is there a better reason to hate the internet than watching your favorite authors fall out of orbit?

Also, William Browning Spenser, writer of the definitive "Old Ones as Corporate Management" book, Resume With Monsters. We've got to get him back to writing novels!
Jason 1110
87. OtterB
toryx @82 asked about Michelle West. I haven't untangled her backlist either. I came to her fairly recently through her Michelle Sagara "Chronicles of Elantra," of which the first is "Cast in Shadow." (I'll point out that my husband, whose reading taste doesn't often overlap mine, also greatly enjoys these.) I went from there to "The Hidden City," which is a Michelle West book and has a somewhat grittier tone. It apparently begins a prequel series (the next is due out next month) but there seems no need to read the originals first, though I suppose by definition if I'm missing something, I don't know what it is. I'll probably get back around to the others at some point.
Jason 1110
88. hapax
Seconding the love for Doris Egan, Lee & Miller, Sherwood Smith, and Megan Turner.

Adding Lisa Barnett and Melissa Scott's POINT novels, Ellen Kushner, and Caroline Stevermer.

And yes, Jo Walton, did you ever write up your thoughts on "fantasies of manners"? (grin)

Oh, yes, and Diana Wynne Jones. Her children's and ya fantasies are well known, but she has written equally delicious twisty Moebius-strip narratives for adults. (DEEP SECRET being my favorite)
Jason 1110
89. silviamg
Well, almost everyone I read in Spanish! But I'll put down something that is available in translation:

Angélica Gorodischer: Kalpa Imperial, collection of short stories narrating the history of a fantastic empire.
Jason 1110
90. Michael NY
Barry Hughart (mentioned once above). All three novels ("The Story of the Stone", "Bridge of Birds", and "Eight Skilled Gentlemen") are wonderful.

Nevil Shute. Everyone knows "On the Beach", but several of his other novels have SF/Fantasy elements, including "In the Wet" (future history) and "An Old Captivity" (reincarnation). And, he's just an all-around good writer.

Jayge Carr (Marj Krueger). "Leviathan's Deep" and the Rabelais series.
Jason 1110
91. vcmw
I also wish that there were more Elizabeth Willey books. The Well-Favored Man was quite good, but then A Sorcerer and a Gentleman and its sequel The Price of Blood and Honor blew me away.

I think that Wilhelmina Baird (Crashcourse, Clipjoint, Psykosis, and the not-quite-as-delightful but still good Chaos Come Again) deserved more attention than she got. I loved her books madly - they were everything a romantic geek of the 90s could want, plus the proverbial bag of chips.

Another under-rated female entry into cyberpunk - Lyda Morehouse's books, starting with Archangel Protocol. I'm glad that she's seeing better sales as Tate Hallaway, but I loved the cyberpunk she wrote.

I'm glad that Jo's review prompted me to read Daniel Abraham, I've only read the first of those four but it pleased me immensely.
Bruce Cohen
92. SpeakerToManagers
The category of single-brilliant-book authors has always fascinated me; I enthusiastically second the mention of Raphael Carter and Hope Mirrlees. I'd add A. E. Silas ("The Panorama Egg"). One of the things that is common among those three is that each has a strong, individual voice, despite having written only the one book.

Slightly more published (3 books instead of 1) is Linda Haldeman, with "Esbae", "The Last Born of Elvinwood", and "Star of the Sea".

I'd also like to mention some lesser-known books of a well-known author. Lloyd Alexander is remembered mostly for the Prydain series (hacked up by Disney in the animated movie "The Black Cauldron"), but I think the Westmark trilogy and the Holly Vesper books should be at least as well-known. They are the kind of book that's usually marked YA, but can be enjoyed by readers of any age.
Allyn Edgar Hughes
94. allynh
All the new guys who where the next great thing in the 90s, but were sunk by computer buying.

Anything by Linda Nagata, or Kathleen Ann Goonan, or Eric S. Nylund. I read Dry Water by Eric S. Nylund many times a year.

Include Ian McDonald in that list. Evolution's Shore came out in the mid 90's and I kept waiting for more books to appear. It was by chance that I noticed River of Gods coming out in the UK nearly a decade later, looked further and found out that his books were not appearing in the US anymore. I spent a great deal of money buying UK editions of all the one's I'd missed. It took River to finally have some of his stuff back in the US. Each of those UK editions rip me to shreds. He is one of the few authors that leave me in tears when the book ends. Publish a Trade copy of King of Morning, Queen of Day and I will be a happy man. I've worn out two of the mass market editions so far.
Jason 1110
95. hapax
@93 -- Oh, thank you, I knew you had something out there.

(bookmarked for shopping the few titles I don't already own)

It's my second favorite genre, after fairy tale retellings, with which there is considerable overlap.

btw, are my eyes going, or are those captcha verification words getting harder and hard to read?
Jason 1110
96. afterthefallofnight
Leslie Barringer wrote "Gerfalcon", the first book in his Neustrian Cycle of heroic fantasies. The other books in the series were ok, but Gerfalcon was superb. It is one of my all time favorite stories.
Jason 1110
97. James Davis Nicoll
FWIW, Pyr has at least three McDonalds in print: Desolation Road, River of Gods and Cyberabad Days. I think they have more planned as well.


I forgot to mention Clifford Simak, who dropped off the radar very quickly after he died 20 or so years ago.
Jason 1110
98. ELaine Thom
#82, the question about Michelle Sagara West's books:

She wrote four connected ones called the Books of the Sundered . These are unrelated to her other novels, and were originally published as being by Michelle Sagara. First one is Into the Dark Lands .


Then she wrote the Hunter's pair (Oath & Death), which is set in a new world and had her name as Michelle West. She followed that set with a hexology (6 volume) set in the same world, and starting with The Broken Crown . Now she's filling in some backstory, with plans (apparently) to continue into the future of that world with the House War series, which began - last year, IIRC - with The Hidden City .


Meanwhile, for lighter reading, she's been writing a sort of urban fantasy in a fantasy city, the Cast series, under the Michelle Sagara name. First installment is Cast in Shadow.


I started reading her with the Hunter books, which are still my favorites. Then we discovered she was Michelle Sagara and my husband had bought the Sundered books before I knew him, so I read those. I've been reading her ever since, although my husband gave up somewhere in the middle of the hexalogy - he said it took too long for something to happen. There are some thematic similarities I see in her first four and where it looks like her big serieses are going, but there's no actual connection.

He likes the Cast books, though. So do I, and so does our thirteen year old.
Jason 1110
99. 6_pence
I would add Kimbriel's Fires of Nuala. A very different planet and society that it shaped with a very real feel. She also tangentially touches on how years spent in suspended animation in space flight separate people who travel that way more than once from their planetary societies.
I keep wishing that Nuala was real- and that I could see it, despite its dangers.
Jason 1110
100. bladeofgrass
Ray Aldridge - his Emancipator trilogy is brilliant, but his short stories are just as good. Unfortunately, he dropped off the radar and even his website with some of the stories and accompanying stained glass pictures has disappeared.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg - her Sime-Gen novels are a very interesting and convincing depiction of development of an unusual society.
Jason 1110
101. Naomi Kritzer
Eleanor Arnason -- particularly for Ring of Swords and pretty much any of her short stories.
Joe Sherry
102. jsherry
James @97: Pyr has also published Brasyl.

They have Ares Express set for publication in April.
Jason 1110
103. Bluejay
Are Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines books (a.k.a. The Hungry City Chronicles) considered obscure? I discovered them through the library, but neither Amazon.com nor Barnes & Noble seems to have them in stock, except through third-party used book sellers.
Jason 1110
104. James Davis Nicoll
jsherry@102: I wasn't sure if it was still in print.

They have Ares Express set for publication in April.

Huh, I read that for the SFBC on my way back from Millennium Philcon on the Bus Trip from Hell back in 2001.



I seem to have liked it, which given the context is saying a lot.

1: Driver got lost in rural Pa., a/c got stuck on full, small boy explained to parents how his game worked every five minutes for the whole trip, woman had melt-down at customs when she discovered she'd have to go through customs to get into Canada , the bus was delayed enough by getting lost that when I arrived in Niagara, the last bus to where I lived had gone, as I sat down to wait for morning it began to rain, which is when I noticed I had someone else's luggage. And other stuff.

2: She was from Canada so I don't know how she missed the existence
Jason 1110
105. James Davis Nicoll
I thought I finished that sentence.

2: She was from Canada so I don't know how she missed the existence *of customs*. She had to have passed through it to get to the USA.
Jason 1110
106. James Davis Nicoll
Thought of another one: George Turner. He came to SF fairly late in life (born in 1916, first SF novel in 1978, I think), having had a successful turn in lit fic beforehand. He wrote a reasonable solid series of depressing but well-written novels:

Three set in a post-WWIII Ethical Culture:

Beloved Son
Vaneglory
Yesterday's Men

The Ethicals were ethical right up to the point where they faced a choice between the Ethic and power. Actually, they were more the Self-Serving Ruthless SOBs than Ethicals.


Five set in a world that was dealing with global climate change and other issues by staging a spectacular economic melt-down:

Drowning Towers (AKA The Sea and Summer)
Brain Child
The Destiny Makers
Genetic Soldier
Down There in Darkness

Note that Genetic Soldier is set long after the final crash and recovery, while Down There in Darkness bridges the earlier and later era.

There's some shorter material as well.

He had a a number of publishers in North American (Bantam, I think, then Eos, then Tor) but his real problem PR-wise is having died in 1997.
Jason 1110
107. sienamystic
I'm so glad to see somebody mention Judith Merkle Riley. Her books are fabulous, my particular favorite being The Oracle Glass, about the Affair of the Poisons.

Martha Wells, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Sean Stewart, Kage Baker are all authors who should be much more widely-read.
Clark Myers
108. ClarkEMyers
For "unjustly" Mary Jane Engh. See the reviews and cover blurbs on Arslan. More to the point so obscure as to not yet be mentioned either here or on the Nicoll or Nepveu LJ lists.

For how fallen are the mighty Mack Reynolds - not expressing an opinion on the quality of his work just suggesting for the prime example of once very popular indeed and now beyond obscure to forgotten - I can't imagine a NESFA edition say.

For quite well known and still not so well known as he deserved by the quality of writing combined with his vision - Peter Dickinson.

Unjust in my personal opinion - the Karres Ventures is lost entirely yet the rather silly efforts using the same names are touted by Baen today.
Dru O'Higgins
109. bellman
Steven Gould. I recommend his works to people, and as soon as I mention Jumper they stop listening. I've loved Jumper, Reflex, Wildside and especially Helm, which everyone should read.
Jason 1110
110. liliane
Elizabeth Wein, definitely. Her Arthurian/Ethiopian series is the best Arthurian writing out there--sorry, memory of Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Sherryl Jordan of New Zealand, who writes YA fantasy. I've scraped together all her books from library sales and used bookstores, and they're great! Especial love for Secret Sacrament, its sequel Time of the Eagle, and the telepathy/reincarnation romance The Juniper Game.

Alida van Gores' beautiful, sad Mermaid's Song. There's a completely realized undersea society, a save-the-world plot, and some subtle hints that all this might be happening post-apocalypse, when humans are little more than myth. I had to comb used bookstores for my copy--why is it no longer in print?

Joe Abercrombie is doing all right, but if more people suffering from lack of George RR Martin would hurry up and discover him, he'd be doing great. The First Law trilogy will rip out your heart and stomp it flat...um, in a good way.

And I wish Zenna Henderson's People stories would become available in a nice paperback edition. I can't afford the giant fancy hardcover right now.
Cassandra Phillips-Sears
111. cphillips-sears
I really enjoyed Monica Furlong's "Wise Child" and "Juniper" YA novels as a child, and they've only grown a bit better with age.
Jason 1110
112. Sartorias
I wish Megan Whalen Turner's books would be repackaged for adults, because I think they read at the high end of YA--closer to college age than younger. The second one, especially, I had no luck with when I taught junior high, but eighteen and above? I think a 100% yowzer.

Another is Cecelia Holland. She's been writing forever--published at a young age. Her historicals, while excellently researched, left me cold over the years, as they were so very monotoned in their moral detachment and astringent lack of sentiment. But with VERANGER--Vikings plus hints of magic--she's blossomed into another writer all together. My jaw has been bouncing off the floor.
Jason 1110
113. Thomas Lindgren
Many excellent authors mentioned above, though it's a bit disquieting to hear they are now considered obscure.

I'd add Richard Grant, Pamela Dean, Rosemary Kirstein, Tanith Lee, Mary Gentle (where's she these days?), Paul A. Park, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Rebecca Ore,
and one of the great old ones, Clark Ashton-Smith.

With some hesitation also C.J. Cherryh, who's still active, has had quite a share of awards, and is one of the best in the field ... yet seems to become increasingly neglected.
Chris Meadows
114. Robotech_Master
Wish I'd seen this earlier so I wouldn't have been way way down in the boonies that nobody will bother to read. :(

P.C. Hodgell is a great one, but I would also like to recommend a great YA independently-published SF writer, Henry Melton.

I've read all of Melton's YA SF books, and have loved almost all of them (and still liked even the ones I didn't love). He's a fascinating person in other respects, too.

Here are the reviews I've written of his books:

* Emperor Dad
* the four other books he had out at the time
* Golden Girl

I'm looking forward to his next book, Pixie Dust, even though I have no idea what it will be about.
Ron Griggs
115. RonGriggs
For mainstream science fiction, I recommend Joan Slonczewski, a biologist who wrote Still Forms on Foxfield, A Door Into Ocean, The Wall Around Eden, Daughter of Elysium, The Children Star, and Brain Plague. A Door Into Ocean and it's sequel Daughter of Elysium are perhaps the most famous.

These are excellent hard science fiction novels with, at the same time, believable characters that are both human and clearly not 20th century Americans. Some of the best biological/ecological SF since Frank Herbert.
Jason 1110
116. HelenS
Avram Davidson definitely ought to be better known, judging by the 1/100th or 1/1000th or so of his stuff that I've read (probably about fifteen short stories).
Nathaniel Smith
117. njs
Possibly my favorite hard SF writer currently is Wil McCarthy, but I rarely see him mentioned anywhere (am I just missing it somehow?). His early stuff is more forgettable, but at some point he found his voice and started turning out just brilliant character-focused epic hard SF stuff. I'd start with Bloom, a standalone, or the trilogy that begins with The Wellstone. (This series is interesting, actually, because there's also a prequel fix-up called The Collapsium, which is... basically some classic Analog published physics-puzzle-with-narrative stuff, and quite different from the series that took off from it.) I'd think anyone who enjoys Robert Charles Wilson would like him as well.

Madelaine Robins is wonderful, and sufficiently neglected (I guess they couldn't figure out how to package them to find an audience or something?) that Tor dropped the Sarah Tolerance series after two books :-(.

And while I guess Naomi upthread is too modest to mention it, I thought her first two books in particular (Fires of the Faithful and Turning the Storm) were a lovely little gem of a fantasy duology.
Jason 1110
118. e brandt
Candas Jane Dorsey's Black Wine is one on my mind right now. Amazing book. The easy comparison is Le Guin, but that doesn't get at all of it.

I can't even try to be complete at a list like this, so just a few others who haven't been mentioned so far, and whose books remind me of Black Wine in that they're not just pretty good but damn good books:

R. A. MacAvoy has had quite a bit of success and attention, but no new books in almost twenty years -- do readers still find out about her? The Lens of the World books I highly recommend for their balance, insight, patience. Oh oh oh: I see a new novel, 2009!

Russell Hoban is certainly no unknown, but I think falls in the cracks, not mainstream SF nor mainstream mainstream, not slipstream either.

Greer Gilman I would definitely have listed until the last year or two -- now I think she's gaining some of the gobsmacked praise she deserves.
Soon Lee
119. SoonLee
Rob Barrett @4:
Yes! Tony Daniel is excellent & deserves better. Have you read his short stories? "A Dry, Quiet War" is one that's available online.

The Not So Dark One @27:
Roger Zelazny isn't exactly an unknown writer but I agree that "A Night in the Lonesome October" is delightful. I also adore two other books from that period, "Donnerjack" and "Lord Demon" which also introduced me to the writing of Jane Lindskold.

Also seconding the recommendation of the Detective Inspector Chen stories by Liz Williams by cdr @53.
Jason 1110
120. styx
All Clifford D Simak novels and collections appear to be out of print. Considering his Grandmaster status, his two major awards for novels and another two for his short stories, he is criminally neglected.

I also agree it is time to resurrect the works of George Turner.

I'd also like to put a word in for Eleanor Arnason whose 'A Women of the Iron people and 'Ring of Swords' were two of the finest novels of the 1990s and I really want to see the Hwarhath stories collected.
Jason 1110
121. 23skidoo
Been working my way through this fantastic list from SF Signal from last year; so many books so little time!

My addition would be Ian Watson. His first, The Embedding, won the Campbell in '74, and he has since produced a series of psychologically challenging and idea rich science fiction novels over the years. If pinched to single out a few I would mention Whores of Babylon which won the BSFA in '88, and his most recent Mockymen, which PW summed as:

"...former SS Officer hires a jigsaw-puzzle-making couple to create a puzzle that commemorates the Nazi blood-sacrifice... A subsequent ritual enables the (officer) to be reborn... into a world that... has been invaded by Mockymen, machine immortals "hoping to become free-ranging energy-beings, while... earth's humans...(go) extinct."
mm Season
122. mmSeason
Frightening that i'm the 121st commenter! But i have to mention Michael Scott Rohan. Literary fantasy, densely and richly written, stylistically and structurally wonderful...

As ever, i disagree with general opinion. His most popular series (the Winter of the World) is my least favourite, not that i dislike anything about it, and his less popular ones (the Spiral series for example) i love better. My very favourite is The Lord of Middle Air which, unfortunately, has no series mates. It builds slowly and subtly, which may explain why not everyone takes to it.

I haven't really come across anyone talking about his books.
Estara Swanberg
123. Estara
RE: Michelle Sagara West's interconnectedness of novels - I think she answers that quite nicely on her bibliography page: Bibliography.
Jason 1110
124. Onagarf
Arthur Sellings's the Quy Effect, a book that is, I think, unjustly forgotten.

Christopher Hinz, among contemporary writers, for the Paratwa tetralogy of novels.
Jason 1110
125. Tatterbots
I second the Kit Whitfield recommendation, though I've only read Bareback so far.

For a YA suggestion, I recommend Sally Prue. I read all three of her Truth Sayer books just before Christmas, with a kind of excitement I hadn't felt since reading Diana Wynne Jones's earlier work in the 90s.

Also the Mennyms series by Sylvia Waugh, which gets overly sentimental sometimes but, for a story about rag dolls, is unexpectedly dark and thoughtful.
Jason 1110
126. T. D. Linger
I thought "Tony Daniel" automatically, and was glad to see the same in the 4th post.

In Eclipse Two it said he was working on a YA novel...that could be pretty sweet (and if Metaplanetary book #3 was announced I would be ecstatic).
Jason 1110
127. Tilinka
Seconding Janny Wurts. Curse of the Mistwraith is one of my staple "you should go read this now" books for friends who enjoy the massively epic world-spanning fantasy series. It's always a thrill to watch the enthusiasm as a new convert takes to the books.
Heloise Larou
128. Heloise
R.A. Lafferty, who nobody seems to read anymore, for some of the most mind-boggling stories ever penned; my personal favourite is Thus We Frustrated Charlemagne, but there is lots more.

I'm always to shocked to find out how many people apparently never heard of, much less read anything, by Cordwainer Smith whose work even more than forty years after his death remains to me the greastest literature the science fiction has produced yet.

And finally (I hope I can mention this here) there's Jo Walton whose Lifelode is totally unique and an untter delight to read and one of the best fantasy novels I've read.
David Platt
129. The Not So Dark One
SoonLee@119 -
Zelazny may not be an unkown but the thread was neglected books - and evry search I did on the book said it was out of print which is why I included it. I think that makes it more neglected than all the other books still in print.

Ill have a look at Donnerjack and Lord Demon though, thanks.
Marcus W
130. toryx
Thanks ELaine Thom @ 98. That's very helpful information.
Rob Munnelly
131. RobMRobM
I don't know whether she qualifies as overlooked but I've been blown away by Robin Hobbs' three series in the so-called Realm of the Elderlings - Farseer, Liveship Traders and Tawny Man. I don't believe she's gotten any love from Hugo or Nebula and I don't see her getting much attention here on Tordotcome but her world building and character development are remarkable.

Note that Farseer and Tawny Man go together and should be read as a six book cycle, all told from the POV of royal bastard, Fitzchivalry Farseer. The second series takes place 15 years after the first. Those who have read the first series need to read the second - I have heard fans complain about the downer ending of the first series and such fans need to know that Fitz doesn't end up in the same place where the first series left off.

Liveship is set chronologically between the two above trilogies, covering land south of the Six Duchies area that is ruled by the Farseers, and uses a multiple POV technique (a la GRRM or Robert Jordan). There is some level of overlap of characters in this story and the above two trilogies.

Hobs has other books, including a new series set in the same world plus another series set in a different world - I have not read any of these and won't opine. Ditto re her other set of books written under a different pseudonym.

Rob
David Dyer-Bennet
132. dd-b
Donald Moffitt was looking quite hopeful to me for a while, and then he just stopped. The Genesis Quest and Second Genesis involve aliens recreating humans from broadcast DNA information, and the humans eventually going back to Earth. The Jupiter Theft involves theft on a rather large scale. (I haven't read the 2003 sequel to that.)
Jason 1110
133. James Davis Nicoll
dd-b: if you are thinking of Moffitt's Jovian, it is not a sequel to The Jupiter Theft. It also wasn't very good (it was one of a number of stories I've read since 2000 that suggested the key to getting volatiles off planets is using a long enough straw).
Jason 1110
134. spidervet
Much love for Barbara Hambly and Megan Whalen Turner
Also:
Robin McKinley (Sunshine)
Mary Gentle
Gwyneth Jones (Bold As Love)
Robin Hobb is great, but fairly popular here in the UK.
Carla Speed McNeil (her comic Finder is truly one of my favourite pieces of writing ever, specifically the third or fourth book:Talisman.) Anthropological science fiction, turned up to eleven. My library have a copy of Talisman and I always put it in an obvious place whenever I visit.
sparrow hawk
135. sprrwhwk
Thank you, Jo. I had just been thinking the other day how many good but obscure authors I discover by reading their obituaries, and how nice it would be to discover the John M. Fords of the world while they're still around for me to thank, and, lo! my desire is answered.
Jason 1110
137. Fat Rick
Three of the four that came to mind have already been mentioned: Zindell (though the fantasy trilogy echoes the SF books very closely. Neverness and The Broken God are superb, still, and it's good to see him getting mentioned so much here), Barry Hughart, and Michael Scott Rohan.

The other one, and he's nearly a one-booker, is John James; but I just googled him to be sure of my facts and see that you already wrote about him! I also prefer "...the gold in Ireland" to "Votan", but that may be because I read it first and often and again before eventually finding a copy of Votan.
Dirk Walls
138. dirk
T.J. Bass Godwhale and Half Past Human are over 30 years old now, but they blew me away when I read them long ago.

I'm surprised that they aren't better known and seem to have been out of print for pretty much ever.
Jason 1110
139. lydamorehouse
I have to add a fifth? sixth? for Daniel Keys Moran, whose book EMERALD EYES totally inspired me. (What's this about AI WARS on his web site!!?? Must Find!)

Similarly, I L-O-V-E Wilhelmina Baird's CRASHCOURSE series as well.

And Eleanor Arnason, of course. She _so_ doesn't get near enough recognition for her work.

Others I don't think anyone else has mentioned: Maureeen McHugh (for pretty much anything she writes from short to long form) and fellow Roc author Syne Mitchell (I was particularly fond of MURPHY'S GAMBIT).
Jason 1110
140. Marc Moskowitz
I'll pipe up for Celestial Matters by Richard Garfinkle. Brilliant alternate-universe science fiction that is also alternate-universe-science fiction.
Jason 1110
141. Joyeuse
Just in case there is anyone else out there who has read to the end of this long list - how about Beth Hilgartner who seems to have dropped out of sight having published 2 delicious fantasy novels "A Business of Ferrets" and it's sequel "A Parliament of Owls" and left those of us who read them gagging for the third.

She also wrote the uproarious "Cats in Cyberspace" about two cats who, left alone by their owner, boot up her computer and play the stockmarket to great advantage as well as making themselves sick on pizza ordered from the local take-away. This is still available from Amazon but not for long because it was published by the now defunct Meisha Merlin imprint.
Jason 1110
142. Rick Klaw
A survey of the overlooked/forgotten:

Neal Barrett, Jr. (It's a crime that Neal has yet to be given the World Fantasy Grandmaster Award. He more than deserves it for his amazing body of work.)
Gerald Kersch
William Browning Spencer
Lewis Shiner
Leigh Brackett
K. W. Jeter
Don Webb
Bradley Denton
Maurice Richardson
Steve Aylett
Liz Williams

I'm sure if I looked around my office, I could find countless others.
Soon Lee
143. SoonLee
Michael Scott Rohan:
More well-known for the "Winter of the World" but personally, I prefer the "Spiral" novels.
Jason 1110
144. legionseagle
Patricia Finney, Gloriana's Torch. Although Finney is a historical (and, as PF Chisholm) historical detective) writer in the main, of outstanding literary quality, her Armada novel both has elements of magical realism-ish (it's a multiple protagonist novel and one of her characters has mystical powers which she, certainly, believes in implicitly and the text doesn't contradict this belief) with another character having alternate reality dreams, in which Parma lands and England fights a guerrilla war, with Ralegh leading the troops.
Clifton Royston
145. CliftonR
Teresa Edgerton is a sadly neglected writer. It looks like her Goblin Moon is about to come back into print! It's a delightful book, somewhat reminiscent of both James Blaylock and Patricia Wrede. Her alchemical Green Lion trilogy is very good, and I should really get and read all her other books.
Jason 1110
146. BrigidsBlest
After reading all the way to the end of the list, I was a little saddened to read that no one had mentioned Julian May and the Pliocene Exile/Intervention/Galactic Milieu series.

And I'm seconding the Jacqueline Lichtenberg recommendation.
Jason 1110
147. Darwinista
Yes on PC Hodgell. Lovely complex fantasies with a dark edge.

Absolutely yes on Eleanor Arnason. A Woman of the Iron People as well as Ring of Swords--great presentations of fully realized alien cultures that are both alien and accessible.

Paula Volsky. Illusion and The Wolf in Winter are both Russian-esque fantasies.
Jason 1110
148. Questionable
Mayer Brenner's "The Dance of the Gods" books are excellent, and now freely available:

http://mayerbrenner.com/
Jason 1110
149. SomeDru
I`m glad to see Hughart, Sladek, Lafferty, Zelazny and Foster already mentioned, as well as Tanith Lee (whom allegedly is writing two more Flat Earth novels, 20-something years later = squeee!).

I am surprised no one has yet mentioned Doris Piserchia. A very surreal writer, with a unique style, an outsider - like Lafferty mashed up with James Tiptree Jr. - and very entertaining. Doomtime, earth in Twilight and The Deadly Sky are my favourites of hers, though I`ve read them all multiple times.
Jacqueline Lichtenberg
150. JacquelineLichtenberg
I can well agree with these nominations. When a writer strikes you "just so!" you often go on a rampage looking for "more-more-more," and if you can't find "more" you end up very frustrated.

Exploring backlist titles (now via e-book you can even get my novels without paying hundreds of dollars for collector copies), a reader can gain a perspective on the world available no other way.

Thank you for this post.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg
jacquelinelichtenberg.com
Jason 1110
151. BeckyIA
Oh my goodness! So many to agree with! Here's my contribution:

@10 - Yes to David Zindell and Neverness.
@67 - Yes to Tanith Lee
@69 - Yes to Janet Kagan
@51 - Yes to Nicola Griffith
@86 - Yes to Janny Wurts
@91 - Yes to Wihelmina Baird
@113 - YES to C.J. Cherryh (one of my ALL time favorite writers!)

Then there's always:

C.S. Friedman
Jo Clayton
Pat Cadigan
Jane Fancher

I think they all deserve awards and recognition for the writing that takes me away from the stress of every day and let's me escape for an hour or four.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
153. tnh
Prince Jvstin:
Although some people thought it was too much like Zelazny's Amber, I still wonder what happened to Elizabeth Willey, who wrote three novels (The Well Favored Man, A Sorcerer and a Gentleman, The Price of Blood and Honor) and then disappeared, apparently forever.
Prince Jvstin, that's exactly how I'd have described the situation, and I acquired and edited that series. I wish her well, wherever she may be; and if she's writing books, I hope I get to see them.

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